Racing Point remains hopeful that Sergio Perez will be able to return to Formula 1 at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mexican has been ruled out of both races at Silverstone after he contracted COVID-19 ahead of the British Grand Prix and he once again tested positive for the virus prior to this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Perez’s absence has provided Nico Hulkenberg with an unlikely opportunity to return to the F1 grid this year with Racing Point, with the German deputising for Perez at both Silverstone rounds.

In line with Public Health England guidelines, Perez completed his seven-day quarantine but tested positive for COVID-19 a second time this week despite appearing “physically well”.

Although Spain’s current entry rules indicate that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms within a 14-day period should not enter the country, Perez would be cleared if he can return a crucial negative result.

Asked if he was hopeful Perez could return for the next race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Szafnauer told the official Formula 1 website: “I hope so.

“He feels well in himself, he was asymptomatic I think for almost all the days. He had a headache for one of the days but that could have been from anything. We hope to get him back asap.”

The Spanish Grand Prix is still set to go ahead as planned on 16 August despite a reintroduction of restrictions in Catalonia following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

Perez had made a strong start to the delayed 2020 season and has scored 22 points from the first three races in Austria and Hungary to sit sixth in the championship before the British Grand Prix weekend.

“It’s not ideal,” Szafnauer admitted. “Checo knows this car well, knows our team well, he’s a great racer and qualifier.

“We did the best we could with calling up Nico, who we know well and he knows us well, but it’s still not the same as having your regular driver in.

“But it’s the times we live in, he tested positive for the virus, we have to take the precautions which are set out in the Covid-19 Code of Conduct and that’s exactly what we’re doing, and also adhering to the guidelines of Public Health England.”

 

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